Agile Training For Business Analysts & Product Owners: Why Bother?

For Business Analysts & product owners on Agile Projects, training can be the difference between a mediocre and a great performance on the team. Sue Bramhall, consultant and owner of Solutionsonsite, says a high number of software development projects fail due to poor and unclear business requirements.

“When a company takes on a major development project, they often assign product ownership to business analysts, product owners or other similarly qualified professionals, whose core skills don’t necessarily extend to managing Agile business requirements,” says Bramhall.

“In today’s fast-moving and highly cost-sensitive environment, CEOs don’t want to spend months and months developing, analysing and revising their business requirements up front only for things to change midway through the process – and things always change.”

Bramhall says that while extensive training is already available for different aspects of Agile and its various methodologies, there’s little by way of targeted training that helps business analysts and product owners learn and master the Agile business requirements management process.

“One of the important things we teach in the new course is how to move away from lengthy detailed documents and translate requirements, in an incremental way, to accommodate Agile techniques such as sprints and stories,” she says.

“A story, in this case, is a small but very specific requirement that would take a developer only a few days to code. A good example is a login screen, for which the requirements could be a username and an alphanumeric password. Most developers can code a login screen, but without the specific requirements detailed in the Agile story, called acceptance criteria, there’s no guarantee the end product will match what the company wants or needs, or necessarily be delivered on time.”

A recently published Standish Group study found that 70 per cent of all software development projects fail because “of the…lack of clear requirements and specifications.”

Unlike traditional development methodologies that require extensive periods of research and analysis before the start of a project, Agile works on the premise that business conditions continually change, and as such, short and productive development sprints are used to derive maximum value from projects in a short amount of time.

“As humans, we are far more likely to persevere with a project if we see immediate and measurable results,” she says. “If you’ve ever gone on a diet to lose weight or visited a gym to build up your biceps, you know what I mean.

“In the Agile world, being able to effectively manage your business requirements into actionable product development with rapid deliverables is the best place to start.”   

Specialist Cape Town-based Agile training company Solutionsonsite has announced a first-of-its-kind course for business professionals involved in managing Agile software development requirements. Designed with business analysts, product owners and other key team members in mind, ‘The Agile Business Analyst course is the only ICAgile-accredited training program in Africa and Europe specifically addressing the need for better business requirements management in today’s instant-gratification, web-driven software development market.

Solutionsonsite’s two-day ‘The Agile Business Analyst’ course kicks off in Cape Town on February 16, with future dates scheduled from then on. Solutionsonsite is currently developing an online version of the course for other regions in Africa and further abroad.

For more information and registration details visit or email Sue Bramhall at

Solutionsonsite is a boutique IT consultant agency that specialises in short-term projects, Agile consulting and training, including SAFe, Scrum, Lean, Kanban and Agile business requirements. Other services include Agile project management, management facilitation, software training and technical writing. Visit for more information about current courses and services. 

Picture Attribution: “Learn On Brain On Monitors Showing Human Studying” by Stuart Miles